The U.N. representative to Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom, told a news conference that people had a “democratic right” to protest while urging them to remain peaceful and “refrain from inflammatory statements.”
“We are talking to the candidates even as we speak, and to their teams,” Haysom said. “And at least part of the message that we have for them - and have had really since the outset - is that there will be a winner and there will be a loser and what we expect of the candidates is to exhibit statesmanship, not gamesmanship.
He added that the U.N. would also look at ways of bringing “extra scrutiny” to the ballots.
Afghanistan’s next president is expected to sign a long-delayed security pact to allow nearly 10,000 American troops to remain in the country after most foreign forces withdraw by the end of the year. Both candidates have promised to sign the pact, but the next president must be sworn in first.
Earlier on Saturday, a suicide car bombing in Kabul aimed at a senior government official killed one civilian and wounded three others but did not harm its apparent target, Afghan security officials said.
Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle alongside the armored car of Mohammed Masoom Stanikzai, a senior official in the High Peace Council, a government body tasked with peace talks with the Taliban insurgency. The two men are not related.
Shafiullah, a police officer at the scene, said Stanikzai, who also serves as an adviser to President Hamid Karzai, was not harmed because he was traveling in an armored car. Like many Afghans, the police officer only has one name.
Meanwhile, a bomb hidden in a trash can killed three civilians and one police officer in Jalalabad in eastern Nangarhar province, said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the provincial governor.